Friday, February 10, 2012

Weekend Book Review: Then Sings My Soul

I recently had the privilege of being able to review Then Sings My Soul Book 3: The Story of Our Songs: Drawing Strength from the Great Hymns of Our Faith (Then Sings My Soul (Thomas Nelson)). This is the third book in a series of books that tells the story behind many of the great hymns that have been written over the years past.

The church we attend has a blended approach to music. Some contemporary. Some hymns. And this is something that I greatly appreciate because I love many of the great classic hymns of times past, hymns that many modern churches have completely set aside and forgotten.

Did you ever listen to the words, feel the words, of a hymn as you sang it? Hymns tell stories. Stories of great faith, great perseverance, great redemption, great salvation. Hymns, although many were written many years ago, are still applicable today. The problems that individuals faced one hundred years ago may have been different than the problems we face in the modern world, but human emotions have always remained the same.

And faith never changes. Our God never changes. The story of redemption never changes.

I remember the first time I heard the story behind the great hymn, It Is Well With My Soul. A hymn that I had always loved became so much more meaningful to me when I heard the story of Horatio Spafford and the suffering he endured that spurred him on to pen those well-known lines.

The first part of this book discusses and gives examples of hymns from different time periods and cultures. The categories include: Biblical Hymns, Ancient Hymns, Medieval Hymns, German Hymns, English Hymns, From Gospel Songs to Contemporary Praise.

After that section of the book, there are 56 hymns that the author shares the story behind. Each hymn that is discussed in the book (no matter what section of the book the hymn is included in) has the music and all of the stanzas printed with the story just like you would see it in a hymnal. Some of the hymns in this section of the book include: While Shepherds Watched Their Flock By Night; Wonderful Words of Life; Redeemed How I Love to Proclaim It; What a Wonderful Savior; All I Need; Victory in Jesus; Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary; He Touched Me; Shout to the Lord; In Christ Alone.

In Part Three of the book, the author shares six hymn stories that he personally loves to share. These hymns include: It Is Well With My Soul; We're Marching to Zion; The Old Rugged Cross; Up On the Housetop (okay, yes, I was surprised with that one too because, yes, that is the song about Santa Claus); Who Is He In Yonder Stall?; One More Day's Work for Jesus.

The last section of the book is titled "Hymning in Private and Public." In this section of the book, the author discusses hymn singing as an important part of our private praise and worship of God. And he gives some practical tips on how to include hymns in our private times of worship. Morgan then also goes on to discuss his opinion of blended worship - the integration of the old hymns with the new praise music. He shares his opinion in why he feels an integrated music program in churches is important. This was an interesting section of the book.

This is a great book. Very interesting. In fact, I plan on integrating this book into our homeschooling lessons, reading to the kids about the history of some of the great hymns we sing in church (and some we don't.) A very interesting read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.


Monica said...

I recently had this privilege! I also have the first book of volume 1 & 2. I grew up on these old hymns and we also have a blended music program at our church. I highly recommend this book. It has some very interesting and fabulous stories on how these songs came to be!

Unknown said...

I found your blog through (I’m also a booksneeze blogger) I’m releasing an e-book at the beginning of next month. "The 6:33 Piano Teacher, How to teach piano for the glory of God." It’s for Christians who have thought about teaching music lessons. If this is something you might be willing to review for me, please e-mail me at lessonsfromivy at gmail dot com. I'm a relatively new author so I will take all the reviews I can get : )